Summer Doctoral Fellows

The Doctoral Fellows Program supports academic and field-based research about innovative non-profit and social impact initiatives.

CSIS operates an annual summer Doctoral Fellows Program open to a highly select group of PhD students from around the world. Under the direction of Dr. Peter Frumkin, top doctoral students work on their own research in nonprofit management, volunteerism, international civil society, social entrepreneurship, and philanthropic studies. At the conclusion of the experience, doctoral fellows will have produced papers ready for publication in peer-reviewed journals.

The Center’s fellowship continues to be a key stepping stone for the best new scholarly talent, with a ten year history of programmatic success under Dr. Peter Frumkin.

This is an intensive research seminar in which students present draft research papers and then work collaboratively to help improve and refine each other’s research. Students are required to submit a draft research paper that they would like to develop and prepare for publication during the program. Housing near the Penn campus and $3,000 stipends are provided to all Doctoral Fellows.


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Faculty Mentorship

Work with Dr. Peter Frumkin, Faculty Director at the Center for Social Impact Strategy. Dr. Frumkin currently instructs at the University of Pennsylvania and previously taught at Harvard University and the University of Texas – Austin.

Ivy League Setting

Live, work, and study on campus at the University of Pennsylvania. Fellows will live in apartments adjacent to campus, and meet Mon – Thurs for several weeks.

Writing Workshop

Follow your working paper through rigorous rounds of peer review, editing, and re-writing to walk away from the fellowship with a publishable draft.

Collaborative Community

Build a supportive community of peer academics from around the world doing complementary research in social impact.

Key Details

Application Deadline
March 18, 2022
Dates of Fellowship
June 6-24, 2022
University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
$3,000 USD plus housing
Application Requirements
A resume, an abstract, and a draft research paper (unpublished) on a topic related to the nonprofit sector.
For More Information


Study for four weeks at the University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1740 by Benjamin Franklin. This Ivy League institution is home to 4,700+ scholars. Explore Philadelphia—the city of brotherly and sisterly love—and tour notable attractions such as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Magic Gardens, the Schuylkill River Trail, and the city’s thriving farmers markets, offering vibrant seasonal produce from Pennsylvania’s lush farmlands.


Week 1

Learn about this group of scholars—their studies, interests, and current research.

Week 2
Presentations + Workshopping

Present your research and provide feedback on peer research. Focus on heavy edits to your work.

Week 3
Final Writing

Finalize your paper drafts.


How much does this program cost?

This program is free and all selected fellows will receive a $3000 USD stipend, plus housing included. Travel is not included and must be covered independently by fellows.

How long is the program?

This fellowship is approximately one month, with three rigorous weeks of study Mon–Thurs.

Who is eligible to apply?

We welcome applications from current PhD candidates in any field studying social impact, nonprofits, philanthropy, or other related coursework.

Find copies of past papers and their summaries in the Independent Learning section. Cohorts and working titles listed below.

Class of 2019

  • Christianna Sirindah Parr, University of Washington, “Leaders and Laggards: Environmental Treaty Ratification and Civil Society”
  • Peter Schubert, University of Hamburg, “The Impact of Donor and Board Pressure on Cost Reporting—an Experiment among Nonprofit Financial Managers”
  • Robert W. Ressler, University of Texas at Austin, “Community Organizations and Schools: Can Community Nonprofits Help Children from Diverse Families Learn on a National Scale?”
  • Ruodan Zhang, Indiana University—Bloomington, “Does government funding to public charities crowd out or crowd in volunteers?”
  • Samantha Zuhlke, Texas A&M University, “Political Exit? Positioning U.S. Nonprofit Donations within Political Context”
  • Wendy Chen, George Mason University, “Social Innovation Meets Digital Innovation: Can Social Entrepreneurship Succeed in Crowdfunding?”
  • Xintong Chen, North Carolina State University, “Are disasters disastrous to nonprofit organizations? Investigating the financial implications of Hurricane Sandy for nonprofits”
  • Zhongsheng Wu, University of Maryland, College Park, “The Impact of Volunteering on Self-Rated Health: Evidence from Analyses of Treatment-Effects Models”

Class of 2017

  • Alexandra Gaidos, University of Montpellier, “Exploring Social Innovation Through Incubators’ Lenses”
  • ChiaKo Hung, Arizona State University, “What If We Are Not That Close: Members’ Decisions Not to Give to Professional Associations”
  • Yuan (Daniel) Cheng, “Exploring the Role of Nonprofits in Public Service Provision: Moving from Co-production to Co-governance”
  • Jessica Haynie, North Carolina State University, “Moving Beyond the Numbers: Evidence that Financial Ratios Don’t Predict Nonprofit Outputs”
  • Sophie Hersberger-Langloh, University of Basel, “Between Donors and Beneficiaries: Towards a Theory of Dynamic Two-Sided Markets”
  • Sebastian Seidel, Hertie School of Governance, “History Matters: The emergence of Germany’s welfare associations – origins, founding ideals, and relevance for the nonprofit sector”
  • Yuan Tian, “The Effects of Different Levels of Similarity on Charitable Donations: A Lab Experiment”

Class of 2016

  • Abhishek Bhati, University of Nebraska, “The Determinants of Success in Online Giving”
  • Yusun Cho, University of Southern California, “Intermediaries as Capacity Builders”
  • Mohammad Habibpoura, “Social Capital, Donations, and the Provision of Public Goods”
  • Jun Han, University of Oxford, “Social Marketization and Policy Change in China”
  • Ji Ma, Indiana University, “State Control and Elite Autonomy: A Network of Chinese Foundations”
  • Diarmuid McDonnell, University of Sterling, “Financial Risks in the Non Profit Sector: A Regulatory Perspective”
  • Maria Wathen, University of Michigan, “Civic Cultural Frameworks”

Class of 2015

  • Maoz Brown, University of Chicago, “Cooperation, Coordination, and Control in the Voluntary Human Services: A New Perspective on Market Developments in the American Nonprofit Sector”
  • Anthony DeMattee, Indiana University, “A Salary Bubble in the Republic of NGOs? Complicating Theories of Labor Donation with the Case of Haiti”
  • Ekaterina Ivanova, Vienna University of Economics and Business, “Associations in Transition: The Business of Russian Civil Society”
  • Marcelo Marchesini, University at Albany, “Spatial Analysis of Nonprofits in Brazil: Following Needs, Money, or the Crowd?”
  • Sara Pilgreen, University of California, Los Angeles, “How Nonprofit Human-Service Organizations in the Neighborhood of Concentrated Poverty: A Case Study from Los Angeles”
  • Leah Reisman, Princeton University, “Managing Amidst Mosaic”
  • Aleksandra Szymanska, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, “Bankruptcy in Belgian Social Purpose Companies: An Analysis of Financial, Environmental and Institutional Factors”

Class of 2014

  • Arjen deWit, VU University Amsterdam, “A longitudinal analysis of government expenditures, fundraising and charitable donations in the Dutch voluntary sector”
  • Sabith Khan, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, “The Secularization of Muslim-American Giving and New Styles of Community Building by Arab-Americans”
  • Mirae Kim, Rutgers, State University of New Jersey, “Does Revenue Diversification Really Matter? The Power of Commercial and Donative Distinction in the Nonprofit Arts”
  • Bethany Slater, University at Albany, “In Kind or in Cash? The Effectiveness of Public and Private Support of Nonprofit Food Provision”
  • Amanda Stewart, American University, “Understanding nonprofit professionalization: Common concepts and new directions for research”
  • Rachel Wright, Stanford University, “Can Nonprofits Lead a Movement for Economic Justice?”

Class of 2013

  • Angela Addae, University of Arizona, “Pathways to Sector Selection: A Conceptual Framework for Social Entrepreneurs”
  • Theresa Anasti, University of Chicago, “The Representative Role of Community Based Organizations: Characteristics Associated with Involvement in Participatory Processes”
  • Mindy Chen, University of California, Los Angeles, “A New Frontier of Immigrant Labor Organizing: Explaining Worker Center Presence in 2011”
  • Zachariah Rodgers, Stanford University, “Good form? Organizational Form, Social and Financial Performance in Microfinance”
  • Lonneke Roza, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, “Costs and benefits of involving corporate volunteers in NPOs”
  • Thomas Scheuerle, University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, “How social value is created on markets—A taxonomy of market-based strategies by social entrepreneurs”
  • Joannie Tremblay-Boire, University of Washington, “Change Can Be Good: A New Perspective on Mission Drift”

Class of 2011

  • Fredrik Andersson, University of Missouri, “Social Entrepreneurship as a Relational Concept: Testing an Interactive Model”
  • Sarah Dury, Free University of Brussels, “Social Ties, Volunteering and Civic Life”
  • David Gastwirth, University of Southern California, “Executive Change and Nonprofit Performance: An Empirical Test”
  • Christina Giannopoulou, Athens University of Economics and Business, “Leading for Impact: Learning, Innovation, and Effectiveness in Greek Nonprofit Organizations”
  • Marlene Walk, University of Pennsylvania, “Expectations and Experiences of Young Nonprofit Employees: Toward a Typology”

Class of 2010

  • Susan Appe, SUNY Albany, “A Trellis for Nonprofits? The Growth of Government Civil Society Registries”
  • Lewis Faulk, Georgia State University & GIT, “Edifice Complex: Building Ownership and Financial Strength of Nonprofit Theaters”
  • Parissa Jahromi, Stanford University, “What Motivates Youth Civic Involvement?”
  • Avishag Rudich-Cohn, Hebrew University, “Philanthropic Giving through Municipalities in Israel – an alternative or a threat to the future of philanthropy”
  • Jurgen Willems, Free University Brussels, “Don’t change a winning team,…Or Should You? The Impact of Social Interactions Among Nonprofit Leaders On Organizational Effectiveness”
  • Nathaniel Wright, University of Kansas, “Revitalizing American Cities: Do Community Development Corporations Matter?”

Class of 2009

  • Erica Coslor, University of Chicago, “Art Investment Collections: A New Model for Museum Finance?”
  • Sondra Barringer, University of Arizona, “Assessing the Structure of Organizational Fields: Multilevel Latent Class Analysis as a Tool for Institutional Analysis”
  • Olena Verbenko, University of Chicago, “Corporate Philanthrophy: Are Corporations Strategic in Their Philanthropic Practices?”
  • Lindsey McDougle, University of San Diego, “Getting to Know You: Awareness and Confidence in the Nonprofit Sector”
  • Tamitha Walker, Rutgers University, “Costs and benefits of involving corporate volunteers in NPOs”
  • Jasmine McGinnis, Georgia Institute of Technology, “The Young and Restless: Generation Y in the Nonprofit Workforce”
  • John Ronquillo, University of Georgia, “Drawing Lines, Spanning Boundaries: Managerial Perceptions of Innovation Value in Public and Nonprofit Organizations”

Class of 2008

  • Rebecca Nesbitt, Indiana University Bloomington, “Soldiers to Citizens: The Link between Military Service and Volunteering”
  • Celeste Benson, University of Wisconsin at Madison, “The Politics of Need and Politics of Politics: Exploring the Motives of Donative Actors to Social Service Nonprofit Organizations in a Highly Politicized Field”
  • Helen Liu, Indiana University Bloomington, “The Safety Net as a Network”
  • Kristen Hopewell, University of Michigan, “Global Governance and the Structuring of Global Civil Society: the Field of Transnational Advocacy and the WTO”
  • Evgeny Firsov, Harvard University, “A New Analysis of Corporate Social Responsibility”
  • Christopher Gauthier, University of Michigan, “Constructing Meaning Through Service: Beyond Beliefs and Actions”
  • Lindsey Peterson, Ohio State University, “Who gets USAID Democracy Assistance?: Thinking About Foreign Aid in a Global Society”